Todd's "Teacher Corner": On The STEM Trail To More Team-Room-Based, Real-World-Learning For K12 Students

RE@L-logo_Corp_TM_New-Tag_8-15-17_CMYK-300x127Todd 11:18Thanks to our RE@LBlog “Teacher  Corner” contributor, Todd LaFrenz,  for reporting on his school’s national “Model of Excellence Award” from EL Education.

Todd and his REALMS school faculty have been involved with hands-on, project-based and expeditionary learning for their students and for many years. There’s lots to be learned from their many successes.

Unknown-1Click on the EL graphic to learn more about their Models of Excellence awards. Todd’s RE@LM School was among those leaders chosen to feature Expeditionary/Project-Based Learning. “Waste Less/Nourish More” is a needed topic to be shared everywhere. NOTE: This EL Excellence website is a resource-rich website like you’ve never seen before! At least it was for us. Consider bookmarking it for later reading and new releases.

unnamedTodd’s REALMS school is now taking STEM even further, both inside and outside the classroom. There’s more hope than ever for better team-based learning and showing that you know.

The student narratives you will see below are bound to make many science teachers think, “Why should I teach in just a classroom, when students learn so much more, better and longer in a team-room with hands-on team exploration”? Why not indeed!


We at RE@L Blog noted that another local school here in the St. Paul MN school district, OWL (Open World Learning), was also cited for their collaborative work with our legislative leaders here in MN.
RE@L believes our legislative leaders need to hear from our K12 learners. Good things happen when law-makers know what needs to be done in K-12: more Professional Development Training for our teachers.

Why is new legislation important? K12 education must gain more support for hands-on and heads-on learning, we need our legislators on board, too. We had the opportunity to visit that school recently and talk to the kids, teachers and principal. One student there told us that had it not been for OWL school, he wouldn’t be in school. There’s an indicator right there!

We found that, at the OWL School, different was better. Check it out by clicking the graphic at the right to learn more about the real-world tasks these OWL students had mastered.

The EL Expeditionary Learning website is a motherlode of great ideas for change for the better. It’s also professionally presented to the teachers who read it. We are in great need of more schools to try Team-Room Learning.Classrooms alone can’t suffice when it comes a comprehensive education.

Here a brief comment from Todd for his Teacher Corner.  He describes their award-winning Expeditionary Learning school project at his REALMS School:

realms-school“Here is a letter we received recently from EL Schools about the “expedition” we created and completed last spring.  They gave us a “cool” write up with great pictures.  

They tell the whole story of our 3 month expedition and what went into it.

Read their letter below:”

“Last year, as part of EL Education’s 25th Anniversary, a committee of students, teachers, and leaders selected 18 exceptional Better World Projects from 50 submissions by student-teacher teams across the country.

From documenting the lives of immigrants in their communities, to initiating courageous conversations with city council members about police violence, these projects became shining examples of what can happen when student learning serves a larger purpose.

Better World Projects encourage schools to engage in work that bridges differences, joins scholarship with service, and helps students take ownership of their learning—in short, projects that exemplify the learning happening in EL Education classrooms every day. The projects also support students in learning deeply about a topic through the act of documenting their work and presenting it to the world.

bw-1I invite you to explore these exhibits today. Click on the graphic or the link  for more information.

The Better World Project exhibits are not only visually stunning, but also offer resources to teachers who wish to replicate this experience for their students.

Throughout decades of observing classrooms, curating, and studying professional quality student work for Models of Excellence, we’ve seen time and again how the act of documenting student work deepens their learning about a topic.

bwp-2-1We encourage you to use the video series, “Documenting Projects: Capturing The Story” (Click on the graphic to the right or the link) to bring these practices into your schools and empower students to use these methods.

Thank you for taking the time to explore these sites. We at EL Education are proud to support classrooms as they strive for high-quality learning driven by an appreciation for craftsmanship and a desire to contribute to a better world.


A resounding “Thanks!” to Todd and EL Excellence from RE@L 

for bringing us the story of this fine and deserved award.

We believe it will lead to more such stories! Maybe YOU have a short story to tell for our RE@L readers!

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